After reaching the World Series last season, Scott Kazmir(notes) has a chance to get back there with a different AL team. While the Seattle Mariners’ playoff chances are slim, Felix Hernandez(notes) is still hoping to make this a memorable season.
Kazmir makes his Los Angeles Angels debut Wednesday when they close a three-game series against Hernandez and the Mariners at Safeco Field.
Los Angeles acquired Kazmir (8-7, 5.92 ERA) last week from Tampa Bay in exchange for two minor leaguers and a player to be named later. The two-time All-Star pitched two games in the World Series against Philadelphia and now has a chance to return to the playoffs with the AL West-leading Angels (78-53).
Kazmir will become the Angels’ 14th starting pitcher this year, most in the majors.
The left-hander’s most recent start was last Wednesday when he allowed one run, four hits and struck out a season-high 10 in six innings of a 3-2 loss to Toronto. He did not receive a decision. Kazmir is 3-1 with a 3.21 ERA against the Mariners, but allowed seven runs in 4 1-3 innings in a matchup with them last month.
Kazmir’s first start, though, comes against the tough Hernandez (13-5, 2.77), who has the AL’s second-lowest ERA and is also among the league leaders in victories. Hernandez recorded his first win since Aug. 1 after allowing three runs in seven innings of a 6-3 victory over Kansas City on Friday.
The win came despite a sinus headache that he blamed for some ineffectiveness, throwing first-pitch strikes to only 11 of the 27 batters he faced.
“(Felix) pitched a heck of a ballgame,” manager Don Wakamatsu told the Mariners’ official Web site. “But from our end over there, you know that he wasn’t at full strength. That even makes it more special. But he went out there and keeps continuing doing what he does.”
The right-hander is 3-5 with a 4.77 ERA in 14 starts against the Angels. He is 0-1 against them this season, allowing seven runs in 12 1-3 innings in two outings.
Hernandez has a difficult performance to follow after rookie Doug Fister(notes) gave up one run in 7 1-3 innings of a 2-1 victory over the Angels on Tuesday. Seattle (69-64) is nine games behind Boston for the wild card and 10 games back of Los Angeles, which leads Texas by 4 1/2 games in the West.
Ichiro Suzuki(notes) had two hits Tuesday after missing eight games with tightness in his calf. He is 14 hits away from becoming the first player with nine consecutive 200-hit seasons, although the Mariners remain careful about the right fielder re-injuring himself.
“I had to suppress myself a little bit, but that was out of caution,” Suzuki said through an interpreter.
The Angels also received a good outing from their starter, as Ervin Santana(notes) surrendered one run in six innings before Darren Oliver(notes) gave up an RBI double in the seventh to Jose Lopez(notes).
Los Angeles starters are 3-1 with a 2.21 ERA in the last seven games, allowing one earned run over 27 innings in the past four contests.
Suzuki is 6 for 18 against Kazmir.